Wow. Facebook sure was angry as the election results came in last night. I finally had to stop reading, not because of my frustration at people’s dissatisfaction with Obama being re-elected, but because of the ridiculous things they were saying—my brain couldn’t decide whether to laugh derisively or click “unfriend.” It took everything in me not to comment on these things:
Well, that’s it. In a month I won’t have a job anymore.
WHAT I WANTED TO SAY: Do you have a negative IQ? I mean, you don’t honestly believe that, do you? Do you really think that the results of this election will have an immediate and negative effect like that? Have you never lived through an election before? They really don’t change our day-to-day life that quickly.
I hate my country.
WHAT I WANTED TO SAY: Just because a few more than half the people in this country elected someone you hate doesn’t mean your country sucks; it means you live in America where we have the right to vote for our leaders.
(Hey, I was disgusted when Bush was re-elected in 2004. I know how you must feel, and yet... I believe the words you used back then were “democratic process!” I’m not even going to bring up the 2000 election—because if you think you’re angry now, just imagine all the people who thought that election was stolen!)
In other words, shut up. Just… shut up.
I will not support this administration.
WHAT I WANTED TO SAY: That’s just fine. You don’t have to agree with how the country is being led, but what kind of good will come from bitching about it for the next four years? None. Don’t get me wrong; I hated Bush as president and it was hard for me to keep my mouth shut while he was in office. But here’s what my mom always told me when I didn’t want to do something: if you decide RIGHT NOW that you will be unhappy, you will be VERY unhappy. So yeah, go ahead and hate everything Obama does and stands for—commit right now to being a disgruntled American citizen for another four years. Mother Mary was right: Guess who it hurts?
Fine, I’m just gonna quit my job and go on welfare.
WHAT I WANTED TO SAY: Is that really all you think Democrats do—make it easy-peasy for the lazy to live comfortably on your dime? How ‘bout you read up on American political party platforms? Educate yourself, please, because you sound like a moron.
Obama’s going to kill my grandpa with his health care plan.
WHAT I WANTED TO SAY: Oh my goodness, I was right. You definitely have a negative IQ. Health care needs a lot of fixin’. Please check out the facts about Obamacare before you decide it’s worthless. You’ll find out that your grandpa *probably* will not be killed by Obama. And maybe try watching something that isn’t FOX News.
My 7-year-old is in tears because Obama was re-elected and there’s no hope for our future.
WHAT I WANTED TO SAY: The only reason your little kid is in tears is because you have fed him a bunch of bullshit “facts” and he believes them because he trusts you. You are soooo underestimating the impact of your words.
And by the end of the night, that’s really what stood out to me: some people don’t have any idea what they’re doing to their kids. They share their political beliefs (nothing wrong with that!), but instead of allowing the children to form opinions of their own, the parent only wants little copycats of themselves. Are we supposed to teach our kids to think, or just WHAT to think?
Parents: sometimes we can be extraordinary assholes!
I remember years ago, probably around the 1992 election, my sister was furious because one of her boys came home from a friend’s house saying, “Clinton is bad because he sucks babies’ brains out before they’re born.” It wasn’t that Kathy was a Clinton fan, but she certainly didn’t like that another mom made it her duty to feed her kid that kind of nonsense. First of all, it was highly inappropriate for the mom to tell 5-year-olds that kind of thing. Secondly, the mom made it sound like Clinton himself performed these procedures. And finally, the mom basically formed her entire political platform based on ONE issue, one for which she clearly did not have the facts straight, and then taught it to her kids AND her kids’ friends. Yikes.
Is what that mom did any different than telling kids, “Republicans don’t care about women” or “Romney is a dog-hater” or “George W. Bush was responsible for 9/11” ???
I have been sickened by pictures of kids holding Romney (or Obama) signs at rallies around the country. It’s all kinds of adorable when kids are for the candidate I support, but when they’re supporting the other one, I’m all YOUR PARENTS ARE BRAINWASHING YOU, KID. If you have firm political opinions, you know you think the same thing. You know it.
Jack’s fifth grade class has been learning about the election process over the past couple weeks. From what he’s told me, they’ve been sticking to the facts, and I gotta hand it to his teacher; in the school system, with what seems like constant cuts to funding, it can’t be easy not to favor one candidate over another. Of course, conversation has continued outside the learning environment… As Jack watched election returns last night, he said, “My friend’s parents will lose their jobs if Romney wins.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA.
[Cut to the Clinton-performs-abortions thing back in ‘92. Gah!]
Poor Jack got an earful at that point, from both me and Victor, about making extreme statements or paying any attention to them. We reminded him that no matter who won the election, tomorrow wouldn’t be any different from today. Any changes that would come with a new (or continuing) president would not be immediate. His friend’s parents would still have their jobs if Romney won. Unless they were Obama campaign staffers, I suppose.
And, again, I was shocked and sickened by the things some parents tell their kids.
Growing up, I had a very conservative Republican for a dad and a then-closeted liberal for a mom (who has since admitted that she quietly cancelled out her husband’s vote in most elections—if you knew both my parents, how can you not love that???). I remember knowing who my parents hoped would win the presidency, but not really why. We watched election returns, sure. My dad was no good at keeping his opinion to himself, but I really can’t remember having political discussions at the dinner table. It could be because we were too young, or more likely it was because we were girls (Dad didn’t think much of girls-and-politics—which is how my mom got away with her voting; he assumed her opinion was his).
(Dad also didn’t think much of girls-and-lawn-mowers, which is why, to this day, I have never mowed a lawn. This distresses Victor greatly.)
The first time I remember my dad expressing a real political view was after Dan Rather, his favorite news anchor, interviewed George H.W. Bush in an especially awkward exchange. Dad was so mad about it. I was home from college one evening and turned to CBS, assuming Dad would want the news on as usual, and he said, “No, go to ABC. I won’t watch Dan Rather anymore.” He didn’t go into details (I was older but still a girl, after all); he was just “done” with Dan Rather.
As I got older and more opinionated, Dad and I would occasionally get into political arguments. He was NOT happy to discover that I was a liberal—a word he spoke with a dripping combination of sarcasm and disgust. But even when we disagreed, both of us had logical arguments; he didn’t say stupid things like “Democrats are unshowered hippies” and I didn’t say “Republicans are warmongers.”
So maybe my dad was more sensible and responsible as a parent than I thought. Hm.
Over the past few weeks, our kids have asked questions about the two major political parties and their candidates. I’ve done my best to answer honestly, and when I’ve expressed a personal opinion, I’ve made that clear. For instance—and this is just ONE ‘for instance’—I said that marriage equality is a very important issue to me. This is pretty much what I’ve told them:
A lot of Republicans don’t support gay marriage because they think only men and women should be married. *I* believe that if two people love each other and want to be married, they should be able to get married.
I can’t help but add this:
It doesn’t change anyone else’s lives if two women get married. A lot of the people who say marriage is holy and that’s why it should be between men and women only, like they think the Bible says, have been married many times, or cheat on their spouses. And a lot of them really just don’t like the idea of people being gay so they don’t want gay people to have nice things.
I emphasize with that last part that THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE. NOT EVERYONE AGREES WITH ME. And I don’t say (but I do think) THESE PEOPLE ARE ASSHOLES. Sure, I’d love for my kids to grow up believing the same way I do, but I think I’d be more proud of them for standing up for the things they believe in because they know WHY they believe them. I want my kids to be thinkers, not mini-Jens. They’re welcome to be both, obvy.
I’m proud of the fact that my kids aren’t doing a happy dance over Obama’s re-election (like I am), because they wouldn’t even know why they were dancing. That would me look like a rotten parent—like someone whose kid cries because a guy they don’t know anything about was voted into an office they know even less about.
Before Jack went to bed last night, I told him to be kind to others at school today, and not to be cocky about the election results. He gets that there’s a lot he doesn’t understand about politics and not everyone is going to be happy about the way our country voted yesterday, so I think he’ll do okay. I’m eager to hear about today’s class discussion. If I get an email from his teacher that tells me Jack was a smarmy shit-head, I’ll be very upset with that boy.
My closing statements: Parents, be careful what you say to your kids. They’re sponges. They watch you. They want to be like you. Make sure you’re sharing THE truth, not just YOUR truth. Someday they’ll respect you for it, and that can only make our world a better place.
Enough with politics! We now return to our regular programming of silly images, tales of clumsiness, and the worst haiku ever.